At present, there are no rules governing how much space a motorist should give a cyclist when they overtake them, but the Department for Transport (DfT) is considering a law change on the subject.
Ministers say they are "interested" in a minimum passing distance, despite the fact that the Highway Code already covers the subject. It states cyclists should be given "plenty" of space - at least as much as given when overtaking a car.
UK ministers “remain interested in the change and are keeping it under review,” according to Robert Goodwill, speaking in 2016 when he served as Transport Minister, after a similar law change in South Africa.
But what should that minimum distance be? Something around the 1.5m mark seems to be the consensus. 'Operation Velo', launched by Cambridgeshire Police, saw cycle-mounted police on patrol, with a view to catching drivers who pass cyclists at an unsafe distance. They suggested a passing distance of at least 1.5m. £100 fines and three penalty points were handed to motorists who undertook careless driving.
And other rules may be looked at to keep cyclists safe. One of the most well-reported is the 'Dutch Reach' system, where drivers use the hand furthest from the door when opening it, thereby making them look over their shoulder to see any cyclists (or other hazards) in the road. The system is used in the Netherlands, hence the name.
Around 100 cyclists die on UK roads annually, while 3,000 more suffer injuries. The government wants more people to get on their bikes in order to improve public health and reduce air pollution, and they believe cycling will become more popular when it is made safer.